Greek players protest in a football match by sitting down silently
The gesture was a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives while trying to reach European borders
A set of Greek players observed a two-minute silence before a second tier match as a form of protest over the rising death toll of migrants trying to enter the Aegean islands. The protest was a show of solidarity against the EU as well as Turkey who have prevented several migrants risking their lives to get to safer havens. The migrants are predominantly from countries such as Syria and Iraq who are fleeing their homelands in fear of persecution or conflict.
The peaceful gesture happened before the match between AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos in Larissa, a city in the Thessalian region. Immediately after kick off all 22 players as well as the coaches and the substitutes sat down in silence for two minutes showing a sign of respect and solidarity for the hundreds of asylum seekers who have lost their lives in trying to reach the European continent.
There was announcement over the PA system which stated the following:
“The administration of AEL, the coaches and the players will observe two minutes of silence just after the start of the match in memory of the hundreds of children who continue to lose their lives every day in the Aegean due to the brutal indifference of the EU and Turkey.”
“The players of AEL will protest by sitting down for two minutes in an effort to drive the authorities to mobilise all those who seem to have been desensitised to the heinous crimes that are being perpetrated in the Aegean”
The video below shows the gesture of respect in the match between the two Greek clubs.
Greece has been the gracious recipient of several refugees after the crisis in countries like Syria, but several adults and children have drowned trying to get to Aegean shores. Recently there were five children among a group of thirty-three migrants who were the unfortunate victims of the harsh sea after their boat capsised on Saturday while travelling from Turkey to Greece
24 hours before the gesture the International Olympics committee made an announcement stating that the flame for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro will pass through the refugee camps in Greece where one of the refugees will become the torch bearer.